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Would you take Paul Pierce over Kevin Garnett? 08.15.11 at 1:55 pm ET
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Who's better: Kevin Garnett or Paul Pierce? (AP)

Every so often a question is posed regarding the Celtics’ four All-Stars. In short: Which one is the most valuable/best/indispensable? What makes this question so intriguing is that there is a legitimate case to be made for all four.

Without Ray Allen‘s shooting ability the Celtics’ vaunted floor spacing begins to shrink and coach Doc Rivers loves to make use of Allen’s ability to use screens in their halfcourt sets.

Rajon Rondo is the playmaker, the only reliable point guard on the roster the last four years, and one of the few Celtics who can change pace and tempo with the flick of a switch. When Rondo has been out of the lineup — or gone through a prolonged slump — the Celtics inevitably struggle to score points.

Kevin Garnett is the defensive anchor and that doesn’t begin to do him justice. Simply put, when Garnett plays at the level he played at last season the Celtics defense is ferocious.

Then there is Paul Pierce, who does just about everything well and is the one player the Celtics reliably use to create his own shot when everything else breaks down.

You can go round and round in circles on this question and never come to a definitive answer, which is a large reason why this foursome has been so successful. Ubuntu may have been a clever rallying cry, but its tenets hold true for this collection of players. “I am what I am because of who we all are.” Take any one of these parts away and the whole suffers for it.

That’s why I watched with great interest as Sports Illustrated’s Zach Lowe unveiled his top 100 players list. One way or another Lowe would have to parse this group and assign a ranking. Lowe had Allen ranked 48th and Rondo 27th, which left the top spot to be decided between Garnett and Pierce. Read the rest of this entry »

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Celtics targets: Michael Redd, Grant Hill, Tayshaun Prince? 08.10.11 at 10:52 am ET
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Whether or not they can get a deal done after the NBA lockout, the Celtics will be in prime position this summer to encourage prominent free agents Michael Redd, Grant Hill and Tayshaun Prince to at least consider signing in Boston if and when the season begins.

Here’s the note on Redd from Racine Journal-Times reporter Gery Woelfel (h/t SLAM):

I’ve heard Milwaukee Bucks management approached Michael Redd before the lockout about returning for another season, although my impeccable sources insist he’s going to wind up with one of the Eastern Conference’s title contenders.

Michael Redd

Redd averaged 20-plus points for six straight seasons from 2003-08 before suffering a series of knee injuries that kept him from 185 games over the final three years of a six-year, $90.9 million deal with the Bucks. Playing the final 10 games of this past season, he averaged 4.4 points (40.0 FG%) and 1.2 assists in 13.4 minutes.

Assuming Redd targets legit Eastern Conference title contenders, that should limit his potential landing spots to Boston, Miami and Chicago. While the Heat and Bulls could offer Redd more playing time, no team would allocate much more than the veteran minimum to the almost 32-year-old shooting guard — and the Celtics have one appeal those other teams don’t: Redd’s old friend and former Bucks teammate Ray Allen.

During a Celtics road trip to Milwaukee in March, Allen and Redd shared dinner the night before the C’s defeated the Bucks, discussing their three seasons together from 2000-03. Here’s what Allen told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about that conversation: Read the rest of this entry »

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Would you pay $1,450 for Ray Allen’s Air Jordans? 07.29.11 at 5:11 pm ET
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These Nike Air Jordan VIII shoes made for Ray Allen — complete with the “Sugar Ray” embroidering — are selling for a  cool $1,450 on osneaker.com, even though it appears he never actually wore the PEs (Player Exclusives). Of course, your shoe size has to be 14, too. Not really my style but …

If you were a size 14 and had $1,450 lying around, would you buy these Ray Allen's Air Jordan VIII shoes?

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Report: Celtics center Jermaine O’Neal cited in Charles Oakley’s assault lawsuit 07.15.11 at 11:45 am ET
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This past season, when Charles Oakley was hired by the Bobcats as an assistant coach in January, Celtics guard Ray Allen openly wondered why it took so long for a team to give Oakley a chance to mentor younger players in the NBA. Now, we might know why, and Allen’s teammate Jermaine O’Neal might have to answer for it.

A group of Las Vegas security officers are countersuing Oakley, seeking damages of at least $20,000 for a May 2010 incident — during which Jermaine O’Neal was reportedly present — that they claim was the third of a series of assaults by Oakley on Vegas casino employees since 2005, according to business journal Vegas Inc.

Oakley had sued them along with the Aria hotel and casino on May 12, claiming the officers physically attacked him following an argument at the hotel-casino’s Liquid pool. Oakley missed the final 13 games of the season with back problems he claimed stem from this incident, and the Bobcats have since hired assistant coach Rob Werdann as a potential replacement should Oakley not be able to return to the bench next season.

Here’s the passage from the Vegas Inc. website that indicates the current starting Celtics center was present when the incident went down:

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Transcript of Danny Ainge on D&C: Big Three still can lead Celtics to championship 06.24.11 at 10:41 am ET
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Danny Ainge (AP)

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning, the day after he selected two Purdue players in the NBA draft.

The C’s first-round pick was 6-foot-10 JaJuan Johnson, and Ainge sounded cautiously optimistic that Johnson can help the Celtics immediately.

“I think he can contribute,” Ainge said. “I always hate to put too many expectations on guys before the draft and after the draft. I think that sometimes we get all excited and get carried away on the draft. Historically, there’s just not that many guys that come in on a good team, on championship-caliber teams, that are able to contribute. Well have three or four young guys on our roster this year, and one or two of them might contribute day in and day out. The others will have to find their spots through injuries and opportunities in other ways.

“Size is hard to find. I think that his size gives him a little bit of an advantage. And his experience in college — he was an All-Big Ten player, and he’s nearly 6-foot-10 and he’s long. There’s just not that many of those guys out there, so the competition is much thinner.”

Following a transcript of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Obviously, you’re happy with your guy. How long did you target this particular guy, JaJuan Johnson?

We started following JaJuan closely last year, trying to see if he should come out to the draft. He was counseled to back to school. We liked him some last year, but we did follow him closely this year.

I think the only minus, really, is just he’s very thin. But he’s multi-skilled. He can shoot, handle the ball, pass, block shots, rebound. He just needs to put a little weight on.

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List: Danny Ainge’s best, worst draft day moves 06.23.11 at 8:37 am ET
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The Celtics’ season has been over for a while now, and if you’re still in mourning, we’re sorry. But it’s times like these when it’s best to look to the future, and in this case, that means Thursday’s NBA draft. The C’s have the 25th pick in a relatively thin class, but as history has shown, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge always is capable of creating some draft day drama. Here are a few of Ainge’s best moves when the Boston is “on the clock” (followed by a few he’d rather have back).

5. Drafting Ryan Gomes in the second round in 2005

Overall, the 2005 NBA draft was a disappointment for the Celtics (see below), but Ainge managed to pluck a promising talent out of the second round. Boston took Ryan Gomes of Providence with the 50th pick, one spot ahead of Robert Whaley and two spots behind Mickael Gelabale. Gomes started 33 games in his first year and 60 his second year, and ended up averaging 12.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game in 2006-07. In the same fashion as Al Jefferson, Gomes saw his trade value increase with his breakout season, and he eventually was used as one of the many pieces in the Kevin Garnett trade.

Gomes never was a back-to-the-basket player in college and was vastly undersized in the NBA. Still, he’s managed to develop into a solid small forward for the Clippers and is averaging over 10 points per game in his career.

4. Trading for Kendrick Perkins in 2003

In his first year as general manager, Ainge had two first-round picks in one of the most talented draft classes in NBA history. No, he didn’t miraculously trade up for LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, or Dwyane Wade, but he did trade draft picks Dahntay Jones and Troy Bell to the Grizzlies for their first-round picks, Marcus Banks and Kendrick Perkins. You might only recognize one name from that transaction, but KP43 is the only one that mattered.

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Chris Mannix on D&C: ‘Rajon Rondo has been on the table in the past year’ 06.22.11 at 9:35 am ET
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Sports Illustrated NBA writer Chris Mannix checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to talk about the Celtics and Thursday’s NBA draft. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Mannix said Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge will not shy away from dealing any player in order to avoid a slow descent into mediocrity, and he noted that even the team’s young star, Rajon Rondo, has been the subject of trade talks in the recent past.

“I think he’s talking about moving everybody. I really do,” Mannix said of Ainge. “I’ve had conversations with different people around the league; I would throw Rajon Rondo on that list as well. … He has explored dealing Rajon Rondo in the past. He has talked to other GMs about him in the past. I’m not saying he’s been willing to pull the trigger in the past, but Rajon Rondo has been on the table in the past year or so.

“This is just something that Danny does. He’s not afraid to make the blockbuster deal if he thinks it helps him in the long term. So, I think Danny is absolutely working the phones right now. I think every one of those guys is on the table for a potential deal that he’s sure is going to help him.

“This goes back to what I thought the second after Doc Rivers signed that five-year extension,” Mannix continued. “Doc didn’t sign on for five years to be part of a team that just decomposes as it goes back to the Gerald Green era from a few years ago. He believes this team is going to be able to contend in Year 3, 4 and 5, when presumably Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen are gone. But to do that, I think Danny is going to have to shake up the roster. And I absolutely believe, right now, before the draft, after the draft, in the offseason, whenever he’s able to talk to these teams again once the lockout is lifted, he is going to be aggressive on the phone lines trying to improve his team.”

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